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Communicating with your parents about what students are learning and doing in the classroom will allow dialogue and a relationship to begin. Finding occupations of parents related to what might be taught in the classroom might be an initial way to begin inviting parent(s) to be in the classroom involved.
Sometimes telling parents what you need help with and what the job entails will encourage parents to be available for you. Some do not want to work with kids, but would be happy to cut things, make copies, etc. for example.
Our School finished their first year of APTT (Academic Parent-Teacher Teams). Our school would have ,parent nights or lunch and learn sessions where parents would be informed of learning in their student's grade level, tips to help with studying or other routines that help students do better in school, and more. What I liked most about this program was that it gave parents an opportunity to learn about to be even better parents than they already were.
Many may not have an education degree and having involvement with an APTT Parent session will give them the information they need to understand and support what you are doing in the classroom. Allowing the dialogue between parent and teachers is what ultimately helps with the parent, teacher, and student team we all want for a successful school year.
Communicating with parents is so important. Coming from a high school education perspective, it can be very hard to get teenagers to keep their parents updated on their own, so we as teachers must bridge that gap of communicaton and it can be done in many different ways. Technology is a great tool and we should use it to help the parents become more engaged in their child's life. We can share our google classrooms with them, so they know everything that is going on in the class and due dates for those activities on classroom. They could also have the option of getting updates of homework assignments and upcoming tests or projects on their phone or through email using Remind (https://www.remind.com/). But before any of this, we as teachers must be sure to start building positive relationships with parents. Whether it is a friendly first week of school letter or email or even a phone call introducing ourselves and telling the parent how excited we are to have their child in our class. These things may seem small, but they will have a huge impact overall when it comes to parental engagement and student success!
Communication is the key, but we must not oversaturate them either. We had a certain Chief when I was in the Navy who was very big on Junior Officer Development. He wanted nothing more than to help us become the best leaders we could be to the sailors serving under us. He started sending out emails or articles on leadership to all of us, which was fine at first but before too long he was sending out one everyday then several a day, I once got five emails from him before I could open one. It wasn’t long before most of us stopped opening his emails, some even marked him as a spammer and all his emails to them went directly into the trash folder forever unseen. I feel like that this is a good lesson for us all. We do not want parents to tune us out because we are always trying to be engaged with them. Instead we should keep our communications low enough that when they see something from us they immediately want to read it because they know we will not be wasting their time. So I would say to get parents engaged we should be in communication with them, however pick a couple of ways and keep it simple, because not everyone likes to be totally immersed in technology.
As I am not yet a teacher, I can only speak for what I have thought about when I think about how I am going to have parental engagement in my classroom. We know how much parental involvement affects the academic success of our students. So it is our responsibility to extend an invitation from our classrooms to them. I feel like the first step is to be completely open or transparent as possible with them. We should give them several options to choose from when we think of ways to communicate (phone, text, email, apps, etc) We can keep a constant method of communication with them through newsletters or classroom blogs. As well as making sure that they are hearing positive and fun things about our classroom and their child more often than they hear about behavioral issues or low grades. I feel if we extend an invitation to the parents, making them feel welcome, and give them several ways to be a part of their child's classroom experience that they will naturally become more involved.
Keeping an open line of communication and understanding helps in aiding relationships between teacher and parent. Teachers should give out contact information the very first day of school, so parents are comfortable with contact you. Stay constant with ll parents when communicating with them and always remain honest.
In order to gain genuine, active parental engagement, I believe the teacher needs to take the initiative in making contact. It is a good idea to send out a parent letter at the beginning of the school year, but also to send out a positive note about each student to the parents.
It is also important to keep the parents informed about what their students are doing in your classroom. Some great options are Remind, Google classroom, and Weebly (a classroom website creator). With any of these, you would also have the option to ask parents for their feedback, allowing them to be a part of what their students are doing.
The best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is by practicing what you preach, at the very beginning. Once you send that letter home to the parents, make sure that you do everything that you said you would do. That can be anything from sending a monthly newsletter to the parents, to how responsive you are to emails. Showing consistency, shows that parent that you are dependable, and you are a teacher of your word. That will also make them feel more open to engaging with you and the school, as well. Consistently invite them to school activities and things involving your classroom and the students. Check in with them on a cadence, whether that be weekly or monthly. Keep the lines of communication open, and provide full transparency!
The best way is to do what you say you are going to do. Make the parents respect you and trust you. Once that respect and trust is established, parents will feel more comfortable being engaged. You will also have to reach out to parents, show them you care about their child and push for them to be engaged. Parents will feed off of your enthusiasm. You can also talk with your students about involving their parents. If they want their parents involved, their parents will be more likely to become involved. The key is to be respected by the student and by the parent.
You should be communicating from the very beginning of the year with parents. Typically, parents want to know what their children are doing in class and why it's important. I think a great way to keep them connected is to have a website or blog space that tells about what you are doing in class weekly or monthly and how those lessons connect to the real world.
This will give parents a better connection to their students and it will have you and the parents saying the same thing. The student has a better chance of success when both the teacher and parents are on the same page. I would have printouts with this information available as well.
I think the absolute best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement is to maintain a steady and consistent line of communication, combined with actively that actively involve the parents. You could assign homework that involves the parent being interviewed. Be consistent with updates on their children. Send letters home regularly. Like Zach said, we do not want to over saturate them, but a letter every 2-3 weeks, even if it is just to say that little Johnny is still doing an amazing job, will go quite far. Lastly, find things to get them involved. Plan a Saturday BBQ, or invite them to view presentations for a large project. The possibilities are endless, it just requires a solid effort on the part of the teacher.
What is the best way to gain genuine, active parental engagement?
One way to do this effectively, is by having consistent communication with the parents and students. The use of digital tools is one way to do this. Another way would be to have parent workshops and school-based programs to teach parents what goes on in the classroom. Parents can be a very important factor in a child’s learning process. Some studies have shown that by having assignments that require student-parent interaction, could increase reading levels. But, I believe the most effective way to gain genuine, active parental engagement, is through trust. A teacher needs to be genuine and show they truly care for their students. If parents can recognize that in a teacher, then perhaps the parents will be more likely to be involved in their child’s education.
Getting Parents Involved in Schools. (2013, November 07). Retrieved June 22, 2017, from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/getting-parents-involved-schools
It's definitely true that communication is hugely important in fostering parental engagement in your classroom, but it can't be one-sided. Making sure we're listening to parents' concerns will let the parents know we consider them to be part of the team. Another way to engage parents would be to ask them to give suggestions based on their own learning experiences in school. Engaging and memorable assignments or projects that the parents had when they were younger might give you ideas for ways you can recreate those lessons/assignments for your class, and parents will feel appreciated because you value their opinion.
I think it’s incredibly important for a teacher to be open and inviting to parents from the beginning of the school year. When it comes to reaching out, teachers should be sure to remain consistent from the outset. Providing parents with an open line of communication—as well as multiple avenues through which to communicate—will allow parents to feel like more active participants in the classroom community. Technology is a huge asset to reaching parents; Remind.com, classroom blogs, and online portfolios like Seesaw allow parents more access into the work their students are doing. This is incredibly important as students enter high school, like others have mentioned. I also think it’s important to meet parents where they are, and offer other forms of communication for parents that are not technologically inclined. Monthly newsletters and weekly phone calls can be incredibly powerful. Also, if a parent has a skill or occupation that fits into a content area, reaching out to them can be a great way to connect parents to the classroom as well. Ultimately, I think that making the effort to go the extra mile will make sure parents feel valued.
The best way to receive parental engagement is to be proactive. Too many teachers expect to sit back and have the parents reach out to them. The parents are busy people and they have their own jobs. Our jobs are to share concerns about their student. I don't necessrily believe there are strategies that work over others, because if you're proactive about reaching the parents, they will understand that you sincerely have their students well being at heart. I try to make a point to e-mail parents ahead of something that I anticipate they will e-mail me over. If I have parents who want review days for a test, I will e-mail them about the reviews days, before they can e-mail me. Not only does this work, it makes us as teachers look like we understand the importance of our role in their children' lives.
I have created a teacher webpage using Google Sites. It's extremely easy and parents love it. Along with my website, I also send home a weekly parent email blast that provides lesson plan links to my webpage and other important info such as homework, test dates, etc. Yes, their is a lot of time on the front end loading up parent contact info, etc., but I no longer answer the same email 20 times about a homework assignment or test date. I have received numerous compliments from parents. Also, if your district is using the TESS evaluation system, this is a great addition for the parent involvement piece.
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